Commissioners for the Port of Houston Authority have agreed to limit the number of vessels measuring longer than 1,100 ft at the request of energy companies who feared large container ships would threaten export growth.
Traffic for large vessels that cause one-way traffic limitations on the key ship channel approach of Galveston Bay has been limited to once a week.
This applies to ships over 1,069 ft long, which are also not able to arrive and depart from a Port Houston terminal on the same day.
Ric Campo, Port Houston Commision chairman, said at the meeting: “We want to make sure that we don’t negatively impact the shipping business and cause cargo to go elsewhere.”
The expanded Panama Canal has allowed the Port of Houston to welcome larger vessels and, arguing that traffic jams would constrict energy exports, energy companies formed the Coalition for a Fair and Open Port.
The coalition, which includes energy companies Enterprise Products Partners, Targa Resources Corp. and Kinder Morgan, helped to push the decision made by the commissioners.
The possibility of an increase of these large ships calling at the port in the future was brought up in the meeting and it was discussed that if this happens, arrangements will be made to ensure minimal disruption.
It was also stated that no shipping lines will have priority, simply that the port will allow one vessel over 1,100 ft long per week.